Common Homeowner Scams to Avoid | Allconnect

Allconnect Scam Advisory

Allconnect believes that it's just as important to block you from any danger. Our approach shields you from fraud, scams, and dangerous internet behavior. Don't just take our word for it- take a look at our Customer Reviews, or our Perfect (A+) rating from the Better Business Bureau. We take your opinion seriously, whether kudos or complaints, Allconnect will listen.

Allconnect feels we should also make you aware of any potential scams targeting consumers in the home services markets. We'll focus on any potential scam in the cable TV, satellite, Internet, energy or other home services industries.

If you've got a lead or know of a scam that Allconnect should research, please don't hesitate to drop us an email (ScamAdvisory@allconnect.com). While we're not a law engorcement agency, we do take your trust seriously and we want to pass along any factually confirmed scams or fraudulent activity that could harm you, your family or your home.

Allconnect Consumer Scam Watch List

 

Industry or Method Reported Scam
   
Rental Scam

Rental Scam - The popularity of Craigslist and other classified ad sites has had some unfortunate and unwanted side effects - scams. Sadly, as more people used the sites they became more attractive to scam artists, thieves and other undesirables. That doesn't make them any less effective for buying and selling everyday items, not at all. It simply means you need to be careful, more aware. Here's an example:

On January 18, 2011 in Colorado Springs, Bea Karnes of News First 5 reported a rental scam perpetrated on Craigslist. The property manager received a call reporting the arrival of his new tenants. The problem was he didn't have new tenants. After arriving on scene to figure out why people were moving into his rental property without ever renting the property, the property manager heard the scam.

These people had rented the property from a Craigslist rental posting. The impostor property manager claimed he was away on mission work, so the new tenants should wire the money abroad. Fortunately, this scam has a happy ending. The victims retrieved their money and the property manager let them stay in the house until they found a new rental. Next time, you may not be as lucky, so take some precautions when renting through classified ads and sites. 

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do your homework.
  • Try to deal only with local buyers, sellers, and renters. Meeting in person could likely mean a more legitimate transaction.
  • Classified ads and sites like Craigslist may seem more cost effective, but using a reputable broker or property rental company may save you countless time and money in the long run.

 

   
Rogue Movers

Rogue Movers - We've come across another alarming moving scam. Apparently, the moving industry is aware of, and trying to deal with, a small group of un related marauders known as "rogue movers". This particular moving scam is all but a basic form of piracy.

According to a story we picked up from The Consumerist, rogue movers quote you a great price up front, typically over the Internet. Then, they pack up your belongings and refuse to release them until you pay the new price, a price that is often more than double the agreed upon quote. Feeling helpless, many movers feel obligated to pay.

However, after researching further, we've put together some suggestions on how to avoid these rogue movers. 

  • The lowest price isn't always the best price. Do the legwork and find recommendations from friends, family or other trusted sources.
  • Atlas Van Lines president, Ron Grove says no legitimate moving company will ask for payment up front. If the moving company you're talking to asks for more than 10% up front, walk away.
  • A proper quote requires the mover to come out and see your house and fill out a contract. That means no over the phone or Internet quotes. 
   
Moving Scams

Moving Scams - Packing up all of your possessions is a chaotic and all too stressful time for most of us. That may be the very reason the crooks have targeted the moving industry. It's easier, albeit despicable, to take advantage of people when they're at their most vulnerable. Our goal here is to help you try to avoid falling victim to scams like these.

The bottom line is simple, do your homework. It's up to you to make sure you hire the right moving company, so get a few different quotes and research each company before you sign anything. You can read a good history of how moving scams became so prevalent on Internet Scambusters™. They also give some solid advice for how to prevent falling victim to moving scams in the first place.

Regardless, before you commit to any one moving company, consider all your options. It's not always feasible, especially cross country, but renting a truck and grabbing a few friends is almost always an option. The plus side is knowing everyone involved. There are several companies offering moving containers. They dropp off the container. You pack it and lock it. They pick it up and drop it off at your destination. It's less traditional, but equally effective as long as you don't mind doing the leg work.

If you do decide to use a moving company, Internet ScamBusters™ offers several great tips to consider. 

  • Get the full legal company name (including any 'dba' names), address and all phone numbers.
  • Get their Department of Transportation and any other State or Federal license numbers.
  • If they weren't referred to you (or even if they were), ask them for references and actually call them!
  • Make sure the company is insured by checking with the Department of Transportion
   
ATM Skimming

ATM Skimming Scam - It's likely you've never seen an ATM skimming device and that's the idea. The thieves perpetrating the scam want you to believe there is nothing wrong with the ATM you're using and their deception is usually pretty good. You walk up and use the ATM as you normally would. Without the slightest hint, the thieves use the ATM to grab your card number and PIN and you all but gave it to them. Here's how it works.

According to the Better Business Bureau, ATM Skimming scams steal close to $1 billion a year from unsuspecting consumers. In order to run such a successful scam, the thieves add a skimming device to the existing card slot on the ATM. They build the card reader to seamlessly blend in with the ATM, so you willingly slide in your card and hand over your personal information without thinking twice. If nothing looks out of place, you shouldn't think anything's wrong, right? The same can happen with credit card slots on gas station pre pay pumps. Again, it's almost impossible to tell if it's been tampered with. So what can you do?

The Better Business Bureau suggests the following steps to try and avoid the scam in the first place: 

  • Protect your PIN - Shield your entry from prying eyes or cameras, but, more importantly, if the keypad looks shady, go to another machine.
  • Wiggle it - If the keypad or card reader look broken or strange, try to wiggle it. If it gives at all, notify the bank and find another ATM.
  • Be picky - You don't have to use that ATM that's over in that dark, lonely corner, so don't. Find an ATM in a well lit area. Like other criminals, ATM skimmers may avoid tampering with a machine in a well lit area.
  • Review your statements - It may sound obvious, but many people never look at their monthly bank statements. Make sure you check your bank statement monthly, at the very least. The sooner you catch fraud the better. 
   
Homeowner/Mortgage Fraud

Loan Modification Scams - According to the Lawyers' Committe for Civil Rights Under Law, loan modification scams take advantage oif an otherwise free service. Praying on "distressed homeowners", the scammers charge upfront fees to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. In reality, the scammers actually do nothing to help or even inflict more damage by stealing mortgage payments.

The Lawyers' Committe for Civil Rights Under Law is attempting to educate consumers before the damage is done by letting you know that loan modification assistance should be a FREE service. Avoid scams by avoiding any company charging upfront fees for assistance. Better yet, make sure the company is a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency.